On This Day

A Tigress Visits the Shwedagon Pagoda

By The Irrawaddy 2 March 2019

On this day in 1903, a tigress made her way to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (then known as Rangoon), causing pandemonium at the country’s most sacred Buddhist site. The tiger was first spotted crouching halfway up the gilded structure in the morning by a group of visitors. An order to kill the creature was issued by local authorities and, after much difficult and dangerous effort, soldiers from the King’s Regiment (Liverpool) shot and killed the 8-foot-long young tigress. In the early 1900s, the city contained large areas of dense forest and tigers were a common sight in the area. The tigress’ visit to the pagoda prompted curiosity among Myanmar people near and far, and the religious site saw a surge in visitors. The beast’s appearance also became a source of inspiration for local artists, who churned out plays and songs about the pagoda’s nonhuman visitor and her untimely death.